Faith; April 13, 2020

Luke 24:25 He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken!”

This doesn’t seem very politically correct to us, but it was spoken in love. That’s a good thing, because it applies to us, too! A major problem with mankind down through the ages has been the failure to believe what God has told us. We make up countless excuses for not believing, and the devil is happy to supply us with even more. About 50 years ago an expression was popular in Christian circles: “God said it, I believe it, that settles it.” The problem is, it would be more accurate to say, “God said it, that settles it.” Our participating in God’s blessings generally depends on faith, from salvation right on down the line, but God rules the universe whether we believe it or not. Some people seem to think they are hurting God by refusing to believe in Him, but they really are only hurting themselves. They seem to think that by denying the existence of a Creator, they free themselves from all of His rules, not recognizing that those rules are “baked into” the universe, so to speak. The tragedy is that every one of God’s rules is for our good, to keep us from harm and guide us into the abundance that He has prepared for us. The vast majority of the suffering in the world stems from people ignoring or deliberately flouting God’s rules. The thing is, God has gone beyond just rules, to tell us things that are going to happen. That is what Jesus was referring to here. From our perspective, the prophecies about the Messiah seem very clear, and the odds against any one person fulfilling them all in such detail are so beyond astronomical that it seems absurd not to believe in Jesus. However, many devout Jews even today take that position, because their preconceptions have blinded them. Even so, many Christians choose to believe fantasies people have extrapolated from the Bible, or even made up out of whole cloth, rather than believing God’s Word itself. We are indeed foolish and slow of heart!

This of course applies to me, as it does to every thinking person on the planet. I had the incredible blessing of being raised in a home that was steeped in faith and Scripture, yet I don’t remember hearing about the presence, gifts, and power of the Holy Spirit until I was an adult, and indeed the father of two children. I wouldn’t insist that I was never told about them, but it never penetrated at any rate. The NIV says “slow of heart,” but the Japanese says “dull of heart.” My heart wouldn’t have cut warm butter! Every once in a while things would get through, and I do have clear memories of some encounters with God that I had as a child, but really only about three in the first 25 years of my life. That’s pretty dull and foolish! Given that track record, I should have patience with those around me, but I will confess to wanting to say exactly what Jesus said here at times! However, God is incredibly patient and gracious, and He continues to save people in spite of our dull, foolish hearts. I am not to focus on human failures, either my own or those of anyone else, but on my Lord in all His power and perfection, and on all He has spoken to us His children, choosing to obey even when I don’t understand, because so often, understanding is beyond me.

Father, thank You for this powerful reminder. Help me operate in the faith You provide, not trying to drum it up on my own but accepting and applying what You place in me. May I be an effective instrument for You to impart faith to others as well, so that many may be brought from death to life, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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